The state prosecution is interested in the outcome of the case of the Ingush protest leaders, lawyers said, demanding the disqualification of prosecutors. The Stavropol Territory Court rejected the motion. Lawyer Magomed Bekov told Fortanga.

He explained the request for recusal by the fact that during the residence of Zarifa Sautieva after her transfer to house arrest in the rented apartment the landlady was subjected to pressure. The defenders of the protest leaders considered the state prosecution as the initiator of this situation.

“The defence asked the court to challenge the prosecution on the grounds that information from the criminal case file leaked to some unknown persons who tried to put pressure on the owner of the house, which we rented to keep the defendant under house arrest. Subsequently, we identified the person who had exerted pressure, it turned out to be an employee of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. On this basis we challenged the state prosecution, as it was interested in the outcome of the criminal case. I told the court that I assume the participation of state prosecutors in the transfer of this data,” explained Magomed Bekov.

The request for disqualification of the state prosecutors was also supported by other lawyers. But despite the arguments provided, the court dismissed the petition, citing lack of grounds for this procedure.

“We have provided the court with other arguments in addition to those that are already available, and the defense has asked to withdraw the two state prosecutors for other circumstances,” added the defender.

After the court ruled to return Zarifa Sautieva to the pre-trial detention facility, the defendants went on hunger strike and refused to participate in the process.

“The leaders went on hunger-strike right at the court hearing after they learned about the lawlessness that had been committed. The prosecution did not have a single legitimate reason to question the decision of the court of first instance [to transfer Sautieva to house arrest]. Moreover, the prosecutors spoke only in a few words, confident in their position, and it makes no sense to talk about any judicial adversarial procedure,” said lawyer Andrei Plotnikov.

In his opinion, “the trial was held with gross violations of the procedural law, which will be appealed in the near future.

“The courtroom showed complete legal lawlessness, which forced prisoners to resort to such extreme measures as going on hunger strike. To my deep regret, I had to see how people of venerable age found themselves in such a difficult situation when they had to prove their case by such methods. The defense will undoubtedly file a cassation appeal in the near future, taking into account all the violations that were committed during the trial,” Andrei Plotnikov added.

The defendants themselves said at the trial that they were disappointed in justice. In particular, Akhmed Barakhoyev said that he had lost faith in Russian justice. “Discuss your snide accusations among yourselves. We are ready to die for the rights of our people and we do not intend to take part in this farce anymore,” the political prisoner stressed.

According to the defenders, the meeting, scheduled for March 17, will not take place, as the defendants will not retreat from their decision to boycott the process.

As a reminder, Zarifa Sautieva was placed under house arrest on March 10, 2021, but the next day the office of the Prosecutor General of Russia in the North Caucasus Federal District demanded that she be returned to the SIZO. The complaint was filed with the Stavropol Territorial Court. The lawyer Magomed Bekov reported that the owner of the apartment, with whom Sautieva had a contract of residence for the period of house arrest, received a phone call from an unknown person and demanded to open the door. The woman did not open the door, after which the unknown person called the intercom, repeated his request and said that he would describe the details of the conversation in person. The lawyer considered this to be pressure on the landlady to “terminate the contract and this would be an excuse to return Zarifa to her cell.”

Rallies against the Ingushetia-Chechnya border agreement have been held in Magas since autumn 2018. In March 2019, they turned into clashes with security forces and detentions of activists. A total of 46 people were arrested and about 30 people received real sentences on charges of violence against government officials. Seven protest leaders are in the dock, including. On 26 February, Ahmed Pahorov, a person involved in the rally case, was detained. As a result of yesterday’s court session, more than 25 witnesses spoke in favor of the Ingush protest leaders.

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